Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
God is utterly committed to bring the people who are being terrorized and abused out of that abusive relationship and into freedom, and that in the process, he wanted the people who didn't know him to acknowledge that he is the one true God. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in our series called Moses, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It'll be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries.
So as you listen to today's message, we encourage you to go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. Are you ready for some good news? In the cross of Jesus Christ, God not only demonstrated, not only manifested and made possible the saving of sinners, but He also demonstrated and made possible for all time the utter defeat of evil. In other words, God is glorious and God is gracious, and the two always go together. We are in a series on Moses, and we come today to the stories of the plagues. We're going to be reading in Exodus chapter 7, the plagues, the 10 plagues.
And this occupies a considerable portion of the story that leads up to the Passover. We won't take time obviously to read all these chapters, but I want to begin reading in chapter 7 at verse 4, where God is speaking to Moses and says at Exodus 7 verse 4, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them. Moses and Herod did so. They did just as the Lord commanded them. And then I am going to read some of the instance of the first plague because I want you to catch sort of the rhythm of the cycle of these plagues and how it unfolds.
And here's the first plague. Verse 14, the Lord said to Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened. He refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent. And you shall say to him, the Lord, the God of the Hebrews sent me to you saying, let my people go that they may serve me in the wilderness.
But so far you've not obeyed. Thus says the Lord, by this you shall know that I am the Lord. Behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die and the Nile will stink and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile. And so it is, the first plague, all of it unfolds just as described.
Now if you're just following along in your Bible, I just want you to at least glance at where each of the rest of these plagues is mentioned in chapter 8. The second plague is a plague of frogs. Frogs everywhere. Frogs in the house. Frogs in the palace. Frogs in the bedroom. Frogs in the bed. The third plague is gnats.
One obviously southern commentator suggested there are actually no-see-ums. You know the little bugs, you can't see them but you can feel them. It might be most likely they were mosquitoes that come. The fourth plague at verse 20 of chapter 8 is about flies and these are biting flies that are swarming everywhere. The fifth plague at chapter 9, the Egyptian livestock die.
The sixth plague boils on the skin of the Egyptians. And the seventh plague at verse 13 of chapter 9 is hail that comes in the midst of a great storm and that hail is destroying everything. And then the eighth plague in chapter 10 is the locusts that come in and consume whatever is remaining of crops, all is ruined. And then the ninth plague is mentioned in verse 21 and following of chapter 10 and that is when there is darkness that can be felt.
Darkness that can be felt. And then the final plague is the plague of the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians. So 10 of these plagues in all. This is one of those subjects that you don't hear many sermons on, the plagues.
I think I have preached on them one time before. I haven't heard many sermons on the plagues and I think there's a couple of reasons for that. Number one, who wants to come to church and hear about frogs that are jumping in your bed and all in your kitchen and then when they finally die there are stacks of them all heaped up and rotting so everything stinks so bad and it tracks all these flies that come buzzing around flies that are carrying so much disease and everything and then livestock that's dying out in the field and reeking and boils on the skin.
I mean just studying this week and I'm scratching and you know and just who wants to come and you know think about all of that. But I think an even bigger reason why we tend to skip over the story of the plague in our modern era is that this is the very kind of story that non-Christians don't want to hear and make them think that Christianity is a bad thing and they're the very kind of stories that as Christians in a modern era we are kind of stumbling around saying well that's not really the God we want to portray to you and so we tend to avoid a story like this the judgment against Egypt. But what I want to show you today is not only the good news of the gospel that is revealed in these plagues but I want to show you also and hope that you'll be able to see this whether you have been a Christian for a long time or whether you're just on the edge of looking in and you wonder how could it be that God could be both executing judgment against evil and be this God of grace that you hear about.
How can that be? I want to try to explain that and help you to see how we need a God who is both powerful and merciful who is both just and gracious. That's who God really, really is. Okay let's just talk about these plagues for a moment and in general a couple of observations about them. They're referred to as plagues but I think maybe more properly should be called miraculous signs.
In other words if you're an Egyptian it was a plague but if you were one of God's people it was a miracle and so there's a big difference. And so really these are signs and if you'll notice why the Lord, what it is that the Lord tells Moses about why he's doing this. Verse 4 he says Pharaoh will not listen to you. I'll lay my hand on Egypt and bring my host, my people out of the land of Egypt through great acts of judgment. So the first and most important reason God says that I'm doing these plagues is I am going to bring my people out of their bondage. And it's a very reassuring thing to know that you're a God, the creator of the ends of the earth is utterly committed to you being free from the bonds of evil. The bondage and slavery to sin, the bondage and slavery to powers of darkness, God has always intended for his people to be free from such bondage. God does not want you in any form of bondage. You are no longer a slave.
The second reason is he says at verse 5 the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. It's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Ever feel like something's holding you back as if you lack an important key that could change everything?
Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them but how? What's missing? Blessing. We all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book, The Power to Bless, which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release. Until now the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales but this month Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover the power to bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries.
Call us at 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. So there are really two things that are going on here. One he's saying, I want you to know I'm going to bring my people to freedom. And the second thing is the Egyptians are going to know that I am the true God. In other words, he is not bringing the plagues against Egypt out of vengeance in the sense of he just hates Egypt or God hates people or God wants to do evil things to people.
That's not the sense you get at all. What you get here instead is that God is utterly committed to bring the people who are being terrorized and abused out of that abusive relationship and into freedom and that in the process he wanted the people who didn't know him to acknowledge that he is the one true God. In other words, he's going to destroy the idolatry of Egypt while at the same time he's going to set his people free. And that's far different than saying that this is a God of hate or that this is some kind of religion of hate. You've got to remember this is a God who had been so patient that he had waited hundreds of years while his own people were in slavery. This is a tyrant, Pharaoh, who is abusing slaves, has wrongly enslaved him in the first place and is continuing. And so God is slow to anger as he describes himself later in Exodus to Moses. And he's abounding in love but he's also he says he's the God who will in no way excuse sin.
And so what he's doing is he's showing his glory. This is a process, these plagues. It lasts close to a year. It starts probably around June as best we could surmise because that's the season in which the Nile River tends to swell over its banks and more about that later.
And it ends the 14th day of the month that corresponds to our April, so roughly middle of April. This probably goes on, these plagues, all 10 of them, go into a process from June through April. There is a lot of time for the people to repent, for Pharaoh to repent, and it just continues to progress like this. The plagues can be clumped into three kinds of groups of three that are then followed by the final plague, the death of the firstborn. The first three, the Nile turning to blood, the frogs, and the gnats. These are clumped together because all three of these plagues affect not only the Egyptians but they also affect the Israelites. And one of the things that God is doing here in the early part of this is that he is letting not only Egypt but his own people be reminded that he's God. There had been a lot of mixing of Hebrews spiritual practices and there had been Egyptian idolatry that had crept in, so it starts with a reminder not only to Egypt but to the people of God. But then the second three that are lumped together, the flies and the livestock and the boils, these all are plagues that only come upon the Egyptians. So you can kind of look at it as three and then everyone, Egyptian and Israelite, are saying then three against the Egyptians. And then the last three seem to clump together because it's about hail, it's about locusts, it's about darkness.
And all three of these have to do with the elemental forces of nature. The reason that the locusts come in such number is that the Lord sends, the Bible says, an east wind when normally they have a southern wind. And they've seen locusts before but this is like saying everything from the Mideast, every locust coming from the east. And so it's about the wind that's blowing the locust and then it's about the hail and the darkness. And God is showing that he's not just Lord of Israel, God over Egypt, but he is the God over all creation. So it's kind of like three, three and three and then the final plague which stands alone, the death of the firstborn.
They seem to progress. In the first sense there's sort of a natural progression of these. As many have pointed out, the river turns to blood. It means the frogs can't stay in the river so they all come out of the river. And when the frogs die, they're the thing that eats the little bugs and mosquitoes and so the mosquitoes are rampant.
And then the dead frogs piled up everywhere attract the flies which carry disease and therefore livestock die and immune systems begin breaking down and people have skin diseases that all start. All of it is also seemingly building in its intensity headed toward the great climax of the final plague. What's God doing? Well, one of the things he's doing is God is slowly line upon line plague upon plague. He is building up to show that I can do greater things than you've imagined before. He is the one who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond. He is a God who in a very real way celebrates and exhibits his power in an increasing manner. So it's like Egypt experiences one plague and their hearts are still hardened and the Lord says, okay, if that didn't get you, I'm going to go to the next level, the next level. And it just kind of ramps up.
And so for those of us that are reading the story, it sort of builds in its drama because it's like greater things and it builds a sense of God's glory. I was watching a video that somebody had posted online and now it's kind of going viral because there's a student at Bryan College, Small Christian College, and that at not halftime but like a timeout in the basketball game had the opportunity to go out in the court and if he could make a layup, a free throw, a three pointer, and a half court shot, all within 30 seconds he'd win $10,000 in tuition. And so this guy is a very normal looking kid. In fact, he's got a broken finger on one hand and he goes out to see if he can do this. Well, he's not... doesn't look like much of a basketball player. He almost misses the layup. The thing rolls around the rim a couple of times. It just about falls out and it goes through. So he made the layup and then he goes running to the free throw line, not a very graceful looking stroke on... and he just kind of heaves it up there. It bounces up a couple of times, goes around, falls through. And then he grabs the ball. He runs back to the three-point line.
By this time everybody's starting to go crazy, you know, because maybe, who knows? Ball goes up again. It doesn't swish. It just bounces around a couple times and then it finally falls through. And then he grabs the ball, runs back to half court and you're kind of looking at this little guy going, I don't even think he can get the ball there from half court. And he just heaves the thing up and literally as the buzzer goes off, it banks off of the backboard and in for the win. And all the people just come running out of the stands, you know. They forget the rest of the basketball game. They're lifting him up on their shoulders and all of this.
And it's just so fun to watch. Why? Because it's this building like that. Look at this. Look at this.
Look at this. And the plagues were like, you know what this reminds me of? It reminds me of the Tower of Terror at MGM Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida. Anybody ever been on the Tower of Terror?
Oh, you know then. What you do is you get into this ride that is actually fixed in the makeup of an old Hollywood hotel and everything looks old and dusty. And you come into this eerie waiting area and the guy, is it Rod Serling?
The Sterling or Serling? The Twilight Zone guy says, welcome to the Twilight Zone. And everything is like, you know, and then you walk into this dusty like basement past all these, these old boilers and everything. You get into an elevator and strap in and then the elevator goes up and you're, you're, you're getting the suspense is building.
You kind of ride through the dark and there are these ghastly apparitions around you. And then you come up and there's a brick wall about two feet in front of you. And you're like, you're just sitting there. And all of a sudden the brick wall just opens up and you realize I'm about five, six, seven stories up in the air or something here. And right when you realize that the bottom drops out and you go, and you just go falling, just free falling in the elevator and it stops and your stomach's up in your mouth and you're just like, that's over.
No, it's not over. Then they yank you back up about the same speed as you went down. And this time you go right back up, look outside that same window. I'm high again. And then it goes down even further and faster this time. And you go, man, that was some ride. And then they say, no, it's not over.
Jerk you back up. And then just so that it just grows in itself. And there's a sense in which I think what God is doing here is he's letting there be a growing awareness of his glory. These, these plagues are addressing the idols of Egypt. In fact, scholars have pointed out for almost every one of these plagues, how in some direct way, the Egyptians would have known how this was in direct conflict with one of their own gods. So for example, they worshiped the Nile river.
They had a God, I think Hoppy is what this God's name was. And they sometimes would call the river by the God's name and they would worship because this was their source of life and all. And probably what happened was when it said that Pharaoh went down to the water, if you notice that, but it says, you know, Pharaoh has gone down to the water and scholars say, why was he going down to the water?
He would not have gone down to bathe like ordinary people. That is probably because this is in the season in which the Nile river would swell its banks and it would come up into the floodplain area around it, leaving its very rich sediment, making the soil very rich. And so it is that they would have an actual ritual of worship at the banks of the Nile around about this time in June.
And so probably Pharaoh was going down at a public ceremony of worship for the God of the Nile. And it was there that Moses confronted him. We all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book, The Power to Bless, which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release. Until now, the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales, but this month Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover the power to bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Well, Alan, this teaching is obviously about one of the most memorable parts of scripture, where you have all these plagues coming to Pharaoh and in the life of Moses. And I got to tell you, I mean, it even gives my kids nightmares when we read this devotional before we go to bed.
How can we apply this to our lives and what lesson are we learning? Yeah, well, at first, just want to apologize. I cannot do anything about the yucky nature of the discussion of gnats and flies and boils and blood and frogs.
That's right. So we can't do anything about that. But it is it is a as we're going to learn more about next time that the plagues are like a reversal of creation. You know, I mean, God ordered everything. What would happen if God allowed us to have our own way while things would become unraveled? So it's almost like it's almost like a reversal of the ordering of creation where God hovered over the face of the deep and he brought order. God doesn't create chaos.
He creates order. So I think part of this is almost like if God were to remove his common grace, this is what you would get. I think the other thing is to understand that these we call the plagues, but they really should just be called miraculous signs. God was showing that he is powerful and he is doing a redemptive work for his people. And so all things that were made through him and if he let things unravel, that's what you see in the plagues. But ultimately what he did was when he went to the cross, he let all order and all creation unravel as the ultimate chaos and punishment was visited upon the righteous one so that then we would experience his grace. So even in these stories of the plagues, we see off in the distance the picture of Jesus upon whom the ultimate plague fell so that we would not experience it and the plague of our own sin and all the punishment to us has been put on Jesus. Wow. His good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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